Nike 7On Tournament Preview
Jesse Scroggins (SCPlaybook.com)
Jesse Scroggins (SCPlaybook.com)
Northwest Recruiting Analyst
Posted Jul 16, 2009
Chris Fetters (Scout.com)


BEAVERTON, Ore. - High school football teams participate in 7-on-7 tournaments and passing leagues all over the country, but I doubt they roll with the crowd expected at Nike Headquarters Thursday for the Nike 7On Tournament. Eight of the nation's top prep teams have descended upon the greater-Portland area to find out who can lay claim to some serious bragging rights.

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First, the teams that are participating during the two days of competition:
Pahokee (Fla.)
Miami (Fla.) Northwestern
Gainesville (Ga.)
Byrnes (S.C.)
DeSoto (Tex.)
Dallas (Tex.) Skyline
Junipero Serra (Calif.)
Lakewood (Calif.)


While the focus may be on Chris Dunkley and the nation’s 14th ranked wide receiver’s appearance on the Pahokee team after transferring this spring from Royal Palm Beach, the rest of the team lives up to the elite talent that the nation has come to expect from Pahokee. Fellow wide receivers DeJoshua Johnson, if he attends with his busy basketball schedule, and Fred Pickett are more than talented enough on their own to warrant double teams. The defensive back seven are led by Florida State commitment Merril Noel, Wake Forest commitment Zach Allen, and cornerback Raheam Buxton.

Miami Northwestern has plenty of senior talent, but rising junior Teddy Bridgewater is the name to watch as he could be a frontrunner for the top prospect in the class of 2011. Some believe he is the top quarterback prospect in the country right now regardless of class. Bridgewater has some major weapons on offense to find including four star wide receiver Michaelee Harris, tight end Charles Fashaw, and wide receiver Corvin Lamb who won the Florida AAU 100 meter and 200 meter sprints.

Gainesville High School must be happy to have star wide receiver, and Stanford commit, Tai-ler Jones returning to the seven-on-seven lineup after missing the last few tournaments. Perhaps none is as happy on the team as Alabama quarterback commitment Blake Sims who had to play some wide receiver this summer to give his team a vertical threat at times. The Red Elephant defense is led by rising junior A.J. Johnson, who already holds several offers and has an inside track on the Scout100 next year, and recent transfer Daunte Carr, a safety who joined Jones earlier this month on the Stanford commitment list.

The Byrnes offense is almost always geared towards success in the 7-on-7 style of football, but when the nation’s number two prospect is on your team and he is a running back, the Rebels ran a little more last year than normal. Still, Byrnes has four regional passing tournament championships under their belt this summer and boast a quarterback and four wide receivers of their own with BCS offers to go along with Marcus Lattimore’s soft hands out of the backfield. Defensively, Byrnes is led by cornerback Zach Miller who has taken over the leadership role well this summer.

In Texas and out west, the thought coming into Oregon is payback. DeSoto Head Coach Claude Mathis and Dallas Skyline Head Coach Reginald Samples aren't exactly on each others' Christmas card lists; the two reportedly spent 30 minutes trying to figure out the dynamics of the coin flip prior to their playoff game last year (won by Skyline 51-26). so expect Mathis to have the Eagles ready and more than pumped up for the rematch.

DeSoto is led by three phenomenal skill players; Adrian White (committed to Texas), Darius Terrell (committed to Texas), and Marcus Murphy (one of the top running backs in Texas). But it's 2011 QB Ryan Polite who stirs the drink, and the 6-foot-1, 195-pound signal-caller is slated to be one of the top-five prep quarterbacks in the Lone Star State. He's joined in the junior class by receivers Samuel Ajala and David Porter.

Skyline is just one of those big Texas program that reloads at every turn, and 2009 is no exception: Players like running back Tony Drake (committed to Michigan) and quarterback Javia Hall (committed to North Texas) have yet to start a game for the Raiders. Hall will have a few players to throw to, most notably LSU commit Mike Davis. Corey Nelson and Dominique Patterson (both committed to Texas A&M as linebackers), as well as 2011 athlete Anthony Wallace, will certainly do their best to show that what happened last year against DeSoto was no fluke.

Out west, the two teams invited to play from California already have a very spicy recent history in 7-7 tournaments. Lakewood might have the marquis quarterback in Jesse Scroggins, but it was Junipero Serra who beat the Lancers and 36 other teams this past Saturday in the Santa Fe (Calif.) Tournament of Champions.

And Serra did it with a trio of phenomenal receivers: Robert Woods is a Top 50 prospect nationally, Paul Richardson is a Scout 300 performer, and George Farmer is a 2011 player with 10 offers already. Bene Benwikere and Devan Spann are two other Cavaliers that have Division-1 scholarship offers in hand, while 2011 athlete Jason Gibson has already been tendered a verbal offer from Stanford.

The Lancers counter with Scroggins, Dion Bailey, Ronald Lewis and Kevin Anderson. Scroggins and Bailey are expected to announce their verbal commitments during the camp: Scroggins has narrowed his list down to USC, Tennessee and Florida, while Bailey is choosing between USC and Notre Dame.

Check Scout.com Thursday and Friday, where we recap each day's events, and also provide analysis and media of what took place during the Tournament.

Miller Safrit and Alan Zepeda helped contribute to this report


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